Synchronization wizard

Use the Synchronization wizard to create packages that you can use to import and update data from external data sources. A synchronization package specifies the data source, defines how data from that source will be mapped to specific columns in ALM asset records, and specifies whether new data will be automatically added to the destination asset or sent to a “pending” queue where the changes can be manually reviewed before being accepted.

After you have created packages, you can run them at any time to import or update the data from the specified data sources.You can also set up a workflow to automatically run a synchronization package according to a schedule you define. See "Run a synchronization package" under "LANDesk Service Management actions" in the Designer's guide.

IMPORTANT: To run a synchronization package, the user must have both the Create Instance permission and the Edit Instance permission. In the Design console, on the toolbar for the corresponding form, click Properties > Security and set these permissions for the user or role who will be running the sync package. If either permission is missing, the sync package will fail and the log file will indicate that permissions were lacking. Note also that for any workflows that include a Run Synchronization Package action, while configuring the workflow, the "Run as" user must have these permissions granted.

For an overview of the data synchronization process, see Synchronizing asset data.

To create a package using the synchronization wizard

  1. Click the Synchronization tab at the top of the Web console.

    Only roles that have been given access will see the Synchronization tab; otherwise, it will be hidden. For more information, see Asset Lifecycle Manager roles.
  2. Click Synchronization packages.
  3. Click New.

  4. Follow the steps for each of the four tasks below.

Task 1: General panel settings

Use the options on the General panel to name the package, specify the destination asset for the imported data, and specify the source from which the data will be imported.

  1. Click General to open the General panel.
  2. Type the name you want to give the package in the Package name field.
  3. Browse to and select the asset or resource to which you want to add or update data.
  4. Choose the Data source from which you will be importing or updating data.

  5. Follow the instructions below pertaining to the data source you specified.

Synchronizing a CSV data source

To create a package to synchronize with a CSV file

  1. In the File path field, type the exact path (UNC or local) to the CSV data source.
  2. Click Test to verify that you are able to successfully connect to the specified CSV file.


Defining and synchronizing ODBC data sources

When you select the radio button for ODBC, the settings on the General page change to allow you to specify the data source, login credentials for the ODBC source, and include a query to specify the data to be retrieved (see "Syntax for ODBC data sources" below).

To synchronize with ODBC data sources, you need to define the data sources using the Windows ODBC Data Source Administrator utility on the server where ALM is installed. You can synchronize with any type of ODBC-compliant data source; three typical examples are a SQL Server, an Oracle database, and a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

For example, if you want to synchronize from an LDMS core server set up with a SQL database, you need to define that database as a data source (or, if you are using an Oracle database, you define that database as a data source). If you have asset data stored in an Excel spreadsheet, you can define that spreadsheet as a data source and refer to named regions in the spreadsheet that contain the data you want to synchronize.

NOTE: Important Note for 64-bit Windows Server 2008 only
When creating an ODBC synchronization package on a 64-bit Windows Server 2008 machine, you will need to create your DSN connection using the 32-bit version of the ODBC Data Source Administrator (located at c:\Windows\sysWOW64\odbcad32). This is because the 64-bit Data Source Administrator utility is only available for 64-bit applications. (Asset Lifecycle Manager 4.0 is a 32-bit application.)

Two examples of defining a data source are given below: setting up a SQL database, and setting up a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. To set up an Oracle database, follow the steps for a SQL database but select the Microsoft ODBC for Oracle driver in step 3; some other settings may differ as you complete the wizard.

To define a SQL database as a data source

  1. From the ALM server, click Start > Programs > Administrative Tools > Data Sources (ODBC).
  2. Click the System DSN tab, then click Add.
  3. Select the SQL Server driver and then click Finish. A wizard opens to help you define the data source.
  4. Type a name to identify the SQL data source (this name will appear in the ALM synchronization UI). Optionally, you can type a description for the data source.
  5. Select the SQL server for the SQL database, and then click Next.
  6. To verify authenticity on the SQL server, select With SQL Server authentication using a login ID and password entered by the user. Type the login ID and password for the SQL server, and then click Next.

The wizard tests the connection to the SQL server, and if successful, continues to let you select the database.

  1. Select Change the default database to, and then select the name of the database. For LDMS SQL databases, select ldservice. Click Next.
  2. Accept all other default settings, and then click Finish.
  3. A summary of the data source is displayed. If you want to verify that the data source settings are correct, click Test Data Source. After the success message, click OK.

To define a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet as a data source

  1. In the spreadsheet, name the regions of data that you want to refer to (in Excel, click Insert > Name > Define). Each named region is treated like a table in a database, and columns within the named regions are treated like columns within a database table.
  2. On the server where the spreadsheet is stored, click Start > All Programs > Administrative Tools > Data Sources (ODBC).
  3. Click the System DSN tab, then click Add.
  4. Select the Microsoft Excel (.xls) driver and then click Finish. A wizard opens to help you define the data source.
  5. Type a name to identify the spreadsheet as a data source (this name will appear in the ALM synchronization UI). Optionally, you can type a description for the data source.
  6. If needed, select the version of Microsoft Excel that the spreadsheet was created in.
  7. Click Select Workbook and browse to the location of the Excel file. Select the file and click OK.
  8. Click OK to complete the setup.

NOTE: If the ALM synchronization tool can't open a spreadsheet file, make sure that the spreadsheet is not currently open in Microsoft Excel. Open spreadsheets are locked and can't be accessed as data sources.

Syntax for ODBC data sources

When you define a package for an ODBC data source, the Table, View, or Query text box lets you specify a table name or view in that data source, or create a query that selects data from one or more parts of the data source. The query syntax you use here should follow the ODBC standards for the type of data source being referenced.

In this syntax text box, you can simply type a table or view name to synchronize data from a table or view. When you do this, all data columns in the table or view are available for synchronization. To select data more specifically, type a query in the Table, View, or Query text box. For example, if you reference a SQL database and want to select all data from one table, you can enter a query in this form:

Select * from tablename

This query selects all data from the specified table.

As another example, you can give a column name an alias to make it easier to remember the contents of that column when synchronizing data. The syntax for this example is in this form:

Select columnname as aliasname from tablename

This query select the data from the specified column but labels it with the alias you specify.

LDMS queries

If you have LANDesk Management Suite (LDMS) 9.0 SP2 or later, and you have defined queries in LDMS to extract inventory data for reports, etc., you can create synchronization packages to use those queries to capture data directly and synchronize it to your ALM database.

Note: To synchronize data from existing LDMS queries:

To create a synchronization package for LDMS queries

  1. Create a new synchronization package, specifying the package name and the asset or resource into which you want to synchronize.
  2. For the data source, select LDMS Query.
  3. Specify the integration server (LDMS core) you wish to query.
  4. In the LDMS query field, select the query you want to use. If the core does not meet the specified requirements, an error message will appear, indicating the problem.
  5. Click Mapping and proceed to map the fields. The Source columns in the Mapping panel should match the columns defined in the query you specified.
  6. Complete the settings on the Matching, and Rules pages.
  7. Save the sync package.

Defining and synchronizing data sources with Avocent® Management Platform (AMP)

If you have LANDesk Management Suite 8.8 through 9.0 SP1, and you installed Avocent Management Platform (AMP) on a server on your network, you can synchronize data from your Management Suite database by using AMP queries. These are referred to in the interface as "configuration items". Avocent Management Platform enables you to capture data from LDMS 8.8 or 9.0 SP1. It includes several predefined configuration items, such as "Devices," "Servers," and "Network Switches." In addition, you can define configuration items to query for any type of asset in the database. When you have defined custom configuration items in Avocent Management Platform, they will be displayed in the list of configuration items in the ALM interface.

Note: In order to synchronize with LANDesk Management Suite using the Avocent Management Platform:

To create a synchronization package for Avocent Management Platform

  1. Create a new synchronization package.
  2. Select AMP as the data source.
  3. Type the name of your Avocent Management Platform server in the Core name text box.
  4. Enter the user name and password for Avocent Management Platform (these credentials were defined during AMP installation).
  5. Click Test to make sure the connection to AMP can be successfully opened.
  6. Click Browse. A list of currently available configuration items from your installation of Avocent Management Platform is displayed (including both default and custom items). Select the configuration item you want to use for this synchronization package. When you select the item, the dialog closes automatically and the configuration item is displayed in the text box.

  7. When the four text boxes are complete, you can begin mapping data from this data source.

Note: In step 6, if the list of configuration items does not display, there is an error in the credentials or core server name. Check this information and correct it, then click Browse again.

Synchronizing Active Directory data

You can synchronize user, asset, organization, vendor, and other data from Active Directory into your Asset Lifecycle Manager database. You can synchronize from an entire domain or from a specific OU, and you can use wildcards to filter the data to be added. Synchronizing from Active Directory speeds up the process of populating your ALM data repository and delivers an added benefit of helping you discover and correct inconsistencies that may exist between various data sources in your organization.

As with other synchronization sources, the order in which you synchronize different AD objects will affect how useful the synchronized data is. For example, by synchronizing Company, Department, and Location attributes first, these objects can then be included when you synchronize your User Profile data. By putting some thought into the order in which you synchronize data, you can more efficiently create relationships between assets and resources.

To create an Active Directory synchronization package

  1. Create a new synchronization package and assign a package name.
  2. Select Active Directory as the data source.
  3. Specify the Active Directory connection, as configured in Tools > Settings > Users/groups in the Design console (see "Configuring users/groups" in the Designer's guide).
  4. (Optional) Specify the Organizational unit (OU).
  5. (Optional) Specify the filter to use (wildcards are permitted).
  6. Specify the Object class and the Primary and Secondary attribute to search on, or keep the default settings.

    The default object class is set to "user". You can also synchronize with the "computer" object class. To synchronize with an object class other than "user" or "computer", contact LANDesk Technical Support for assistance.

  7. When the text boxes are filled in, click Mapping and proceed to map the fields.

VMWare hosts and virtual machines

If you use VMWare hosts and virtual machines in your environment, you may want to synchronize the data from these sources into your asset repository. The Virtual machine synchronization type enables you to synchronize virtual machine and host machine information from your VMware ESX server into your ALM database so you can manage these virtual and host machines as you would other assets.

Before you can define synchronization packages for this data type, you need to have set up an integration server for VMWare in the ALM Design console (see "Using third-party connectors with Asset Lifecycle Manager" in the Designer's guide). You will need to specify the integration server in step 3 below.

To create a synchronization package for VM hosts or virtual machines

  1. Create a new synchronization package and assign a package name.
  2. Select Virtual machine as the Data source.

    When you specify Virtual machine as the data source, the Computer object is automatically selected in the Asset or resource field, and will overwrite any other selection.

  3. In the VM Integration server field, specify the name of the VMWare integration server.
  4. Specify whether you want to import Host or Virtual machine information.
  5. Select the destination Computer type you want your virtual or host assets to be imported as. For example, if you import Virtual machine information, you may want to set Computer type as "Virtual machine". If you import host machine information, you should set the computer type as "Server" so that these assets will be assigned to the correct computer type.
  6. Click Mapping to map the source and destination fields.

Task 2: Mapping panel settings

Use the options on the Mapping dialog panel to specify how columns in the data source will map to columns in the destination asset or resource. Mapping can be as straightforward as mapping a single source data column to a column in the destination asset or resource, or as complex as mapping numerous source and destination columns while creating relationships with linked columns in other assets or resources.

The Mapping panel contains three columns:

If no Foreign column is present

When mapping a data item that does not include a foreign column, you simply select the correct field from the Source column drop-down box to map to the corresponding column in the Destination column list. For example, if you were synchronizing data from a CSV file containing a field called "Manufacturer", and you wanted the values from that field to appear in the "Manufacturer name" column in the destination asset records, you would find the "Manufacturer name" row in the Destination column list, and then open the drop-down box located on that row in the Source column list and select "Manufacturer".

Where a Foreign column is present

The Foreign column acts as a qualifier to map relationships between assets and supporting resources. When mapping a data item that includes a drop-down box in the Foreign column list, you need to specify the column from the supporting resource that will be used to qualify the data. This ensures that data from the source will only be imported into the destination if it matches values that are present in the supporting resource.

For example, you may have a destination asset which contains a "Cost center" column that is linked to the "Cost center name" column in a supporting resource that contains information on all approved vendors. If you were synchronizing data from a "CostCtr" column in a CSV file to the "Cost center name" column in the destination asset, you would find the "Cost center name" row in the Destination column list, select "Cost center name" from the Foreign column drop-down box on that row, and then select "CostCtr" from the Source column drop-down box on that row.

If a dropdown list is present in the foreign column for any source values you are mapping, you will need to specify a qualifier for those values. The qualifier is used to determine whether data from the source should be imported into the destination.
During synchronization, the values in the CostCtr, Dept, and Location columns in the CSV Source file are compared against existing values in the corresponding supporting resource.
Record 4 will not be imported because Cost Center 1002 does not exist in the Cost Center supporting resource.
Note that the Cost Center supporting resource needs to have been populated before running the synchronization package.

When the synchronization package is run, each item in the "CostCtr" column of the CSV file (Source column) will be compared against existing values in the "Cost center name" column (Foreign column) from the supporting resource. If a match is found (and the strings must match exactly), the record containing the data will be imported into the "Cost center" Destination column. If the strings do not match exactly, the record containing the data will not be imported.


To map source data columns to destination columns

  1. Click Mapping to open the Mapping panel.
  2. For each Destination column for which this package will import or update data, click the corresponding Source column drop-down and select the source data field that should be stored in that column in the destination asset.
  3. If a drop-down appears for a mapped item in the Foreign column field, open it and select the data key that you want to compare the source data against. Only values which exactly match data in the linked asset or supporting resource will be imported into the destination record. For example, if a delivery location for an Active directory user doesn't match a location listed in the Location supporting resource, that user record will not be synchronized into the ALM database. To prevent this, make sure to synchronize the delivery locations from Active directory with the Location supporting resource before importing users from Active directory.

Destination Column: Field into which data will be imported.
Foreign Column: Qualifier for comparing data to be imported.
Source Column: Data to be imported.

NOTE: When you run a synchronization package, any failures due to non-matches with the foreign column will be recorded in the synchronization log. See Synchronization status for information on viewing the log.

Task 3: Matching panel settings

The Matching panel lets you define how to find the matching record in the destination asset or resource. You do this by selecting one or more fields which you want to contain unique values in the destination record.

For example, you might check Asset name because you want to make sure that each record in the destination is for a unique asset. When you run the package, each value in the source data column that is mapped to the Asset name column in the destination asset is checked against the existing values in that column.

If you check multiple Destination column names, the source record data must match the values in all checked columns in an existing destination record to be considered a match. If one or more values do not match, the record is treated as a new record.

To compare source records with destination records

  1. Click Matching to open the Matching panel.
  2. Check the desired destination columns.

Task 4: Rules panel settings

Options on the Rules panel let you specify how newly discovered records and updates to existing records will be handled:

To specify rules

  1. Click Rules to open the Rules panel.
  2. Check the Automatically add new items from the source to the asset system checkbox if you want to have new records automatically added to the destination asset.

If the checkbox is left unchecked, new records will be sent to the Pending inserts queue, where they will remain until you choose to insert them or ignore them.

  1. In the Destination columns to protect list, check any columns in the destination asset that you want to protect from being overwritten without first being manually reviewed.

Only changes made to checked columns will be sent to the Pending updates queue; changes to unchecked columns will be added directly to the destination asset, updating the existing values.

If a relationship has changed or no longer exists between an asset and/or a supporting resource, you can remove that relationship during synchronization by clicking the checkbox next to "Remove relationships..." and then selecting the item in the dropdown list.

  1. Click the green checkmark button to save the synchronization package.